Venura Herath: Plant Direct First Author

Venura Herath, “The plant endoplasmic reticulum UPRome: A repository and pathway browser for genes involved in signaling networks linked to the endoplasmic reticulum”

Current Position: Professor at the University of Peradeniya

Education: PhD in Biological Sciences (University of Maine) and BSc in Agriculture (University of Peradeniya)

Non-scientific Interests: Photography, Traveling and DIY projects

Brief bio:

I was always inspired by the complexity of biological systems. After obtaining my BS degree in Agriculture I pursued my PhD studies under Dr. Benildo de los Reyes at the University of Maine. He introduced me to the captivating world of functional genomics in which I built my post doctorate career at the University of Peradeniya as a faculty. My lab is interested in decoding the transcriptional regulatory networks involved in plant responses to various abiotic stresses.

In 2019, I joined the Plant Virology Lab at the Texas A&M during my sabbatical working in a brand-new field with Dr. Jeanmarie Verchot. During my stay there, I had the opportunity to explore plant-virus interactions, mainly focusing on endoplasmic reticulum stress using both functional, comparative, and computational genomic approaches. Our studies resulted in deciphering transcriptomic regulatory networks associated with ER stress induced unfolded response not only in Arabidopsis but also in potato. After completing my sabbatical, I am continuing to collaborate with Dr. Verchot’s Lab to expand our work into ER stress and comparative genomics.